Tuesday 17 October 2017

Cases jeopardised by garda's drug arrest

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A GARDA alleged to have bought 10 grams of cocaine from a north inner-city drug dealer to share with a colleague has jeopardised several criminal trials, including some involving drug dealers.

Suspects prosecuted by the garda could have their cases thrown out of court because his reputation has been discredited by his alleged association with drug dealers, according to sources.

Senior officers are reviewing all cases the garda was prosecuting and will seek legal advice on whether any charges should be dropped as a result of his involvement.

Most are thought to relate to relatively minor road-traffic offences but he was also involved in several drug cases.

The association between the garda and a drug dealer has sparked a major internal investigation led by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

The uniformed garda, who is in his 20s, was arrested last Monday night. He was attached to a unit in the south city. He met a known dealer from the north inner city on Ormond Quay.

He was stopped by officers allegedly in possession of 10 grams of cocaine, with a street value of €800.

The garda's colleagues were also questioned and one allegedly admitted that some of the drug was for him. A female garda who said she knew nothing about her colleague's drug use faces no action.

The garda and the dealer were arrested and released without charge. A file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The garda was suspended from the force, along with his male colleague.

Detectives suspect that the garda may have been a habitual cocaine user and had bought the drug from the same dealer in the past. They also believe the dealer knew he was supplying cocaine to a garda.

The NBCI began its undercover investigation after receiving information that the garda had attracted suspicion in the force. A team of officers is now probing every aspect of the garda's personal and professional life.

His house and locker have already been searched. Every member of his unit will be interviewed. His phone records and bank account will be scrutinised.

The number of times he accessed the criminal intelligence database, Pulse, will also be probed. Also under investigation is whether the dealer may have benefited from the association with him.

The DPP is likely to be consulted on cases he was involved in. As a prosecuting garda, he will be required to give evidence but his testimony is likely to be undermined by the fact that he was suspended on suspicion of being involved with cocaine.

Sunday Independent

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